Happy New Year to all our wonderful readers and young scientists. Though here in Sydney we did not have our celebrations quite the same, the spirit of hope was all that we needed to welcome a fabulous new year. While we still have time, why not some post-party fireworks and magic that don’t make a sound? This eco-friendly, pet-friendly and human-friendly project is as much wonderous as it is bizarre. I certainly loved it and my wish for the new year is that you will too.
What is a lava lamp?
A lava lamp is a liquid motion lamp made with oil, water and a hydraulic acid tablet. Fun Fact- A lava lamp doesn’t give light but is used to create a mood or make you feel a certain way such as astounded or perplexed! The lava lamp was made way back in 1963 by Edward Craven-Walker. He based his idea on the old version of the egg timer which was made with wax. When the wax melts, that means your egg was ready and he made his lava lamp with wax. This is why people use lava lamps regardless of how much light they give (source)
Some science behind the lava lamp
In this experiment, we learn two science aspects, Miscible and immiscible liquids, the chemical reaction and density.
Miscible liquids are those that can mix up in a way we can see them separately, like coffee or chocolate milk. Immiscible liquids don’t like to mix with each other, hence stay separate, like water and oil. How they stay separate is dependent also on their density.
Density is how much matter is in a substance or object where we know the volume. It helps us to compare materials and even suburbs. For example, a glass cup is heavier than a plastic one. It also helps to see where people live more like Sydney CBD is more densely populated than the suburbs.
In this lava lamp, the citric acid and sodium bicarbonate in the tablet, react with water forming Carbon dioxide ( the fizz). When the carbon dioxide gas tries to escape, it carries along with it the water particles as globules. This is lighter and hence floats upon the oil. Then the carbon dioxide escapes into the air and the globule suddenly is denser and falls down back to sink in as it is denser now. This reaction continues as long as the carbon dioxide is formed.
What you need.
To make the lava lamp, you need:
A clear bottle (500ml size).
2 cups of Vegetable oil
1/2 cup of Water
Few drops of Food colouring
Hydraulic acid tablets ( any fizzy tablet)
How to make your lava lamp
Step 1. Pour the oil 3/4 of the way up the bottle
Step 2. Add food colouring to the water (we used 2 drops)
Step 3. Pour the coloured water into the oil and let it sit for a minute. the water is heavier than oil will sink to the bottom of the bottle.
Step 4. Add one hydraulic acid tablet and wait for it
Watch the lava lamp bubble and fizz like magic!
This activity was super fun for me and the perfect way to welcome the New Year 2021 into my life. This new year, we celebrate our hope as a world, we are all human beings and we have to look after each other. Have fun this year with family and friends and keep loving the posts. Leave us some of your likes and dislikes about the post in the comments so we can improve this year. This lava lamp was a request by a reader. If you have any that I should try out, let me know. I am very excited when I hear from you.
Happy new year to you and your family and stay safe, have fun and keep reading!